For What to Cook this Week we’re inviting you to try your hand at cooking five incredibly delicious Cambodian dishes for our Cambodian Food Week. Haven’t cooked Cambodian food before? Here’s your chance to try. You cook it all the time? Then forward this post to friends who haven’t and get them onto Cambodian food.
What to Cook this Week is a weekly recipe series I publish randomly most Mondays with weeknight meal ideas from the Grantourismo recipe archives. Suggestions usually include easy midweek dishes, ideas for upcoming holidays, and recipes that we’re developing and testing that we’d love you to try.
This week I’ve decided to do something a bit different and do my part to promote Cambodian food by declaring it Cambodian Food Week on Grantourismo. What to Cook this Week will give you a taste of Cambodia over the next five days if you’ll accept the challenge and join us in cooking five delicious Cambodian dishes.
The aim is to inspire you to cook Cambodian food, and in the process, learn a bit about Cambodian cuisine and its history and culinary culture. We have an ulterior motivate: we want more people cooking Cambodian food, so our hope is you’ll help us to share how wonderful it is with your food-loving friends.
As regular readers know, since 2013 we’ve been working on an epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook and developing several Cambodian cookbooks. Since the pandemic started in early 2020 it has pretty much been how we’ve spent a huge chunk of our time, thanks to patrons on Patreon who support our work.
We still have a lot of work to do and that work primarily involves getting out on the road again to research the cuisines of Cambodian regions we’ve not yet been to or have been to but haven’t spent enough time in, to identity, observe and interview local cooks, learn a dish from them, document their recipe and story, and photograph the cooks, their food, their kitchens, villages, towns, and countryside.
However, we’re running out of time. We can’t work on this book forever and need to get back to Australia. I’m about to launch a new fund-raising drive to cover the costs of the final trips we have left to do. If you enjoy cooking our recipes and would like to support our cookbook, please pop over to Patreon where you can sign up to become a patron and make a monthly pledge or just make a one-off donation.
And if you’re not interested in cooking Cambodian food, we have hundreds more recipes in the Grantourismo archives and lots of other ideas in our What to Cook this Week archives.
What to Cook this Week – 5 Delicious Cambodian Dishes to Cook for Cambodian Food Week
Cambodian Mee Katang Recipe for Quick and Easy Cantonese Style Noodles
This Cambodian mee katang recipe makes a delicious Chinese-Cambodian dish of wok-fried wide rice noodles, browned by dark soy sauce, and stir-fried with marinated pork, crunchy carrots and Chinese broccoli, and scrambled eggs.
Called ‘mee Kontang’ in Khmer, which means Cantonese noodles, but pronounced ‘mee Katang’, these charred noodles are a cinch to make and super versatile.
While not as ubiquitous in Cambodia as noodle soup dishes such as nom banh chok and kuy teav, nor as popular as wok-fried noodles such as lort cha, mee Kola, chha kuy teav (stir-fried rice noodles), or mee Siem (crispy deep-fried noodles with pork and fermented soy bean), you’ll still spot mee Katang at street food carts and on restaurant menus.
A descendant of the Cantonese dish chow fun, mee Katang is made with the same fresh, flat, wide rice noodles called hor fun, which are stir-fried in light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and oyster sauce to give the noodles colour as much as flavour.
In Cambodia, mee katang recipes typically include Chinese broccoli (kai lan or gai lan), julienned carrot and scrambled eggs, and while we love mee Katang with marinated pork, these noodles can also be stir-fried with beef or chicken, shrimps or mixed seafood.
Braised Pork Belly Recipe with Ginger, Black Pepper, Palm Sugar, Star Anise and Peanuts
Along with rice and soups, stews are some of the oldest things eaten in Cambodia and this braised pork belly recipe with ginger, black pepper, palm sugar, star anise, and peanuts makes a comforting Cambodian slow-cooked pork belly dish that Cambodians call a pork stew or khor sach chrouk – also spelt kaw sach chrouk.
‘Stew’ in Khmer is ‘khor’ or ‘kaw’ and ‘sach chrouk’ means pork meat. A literal translation might be khor sach chrouk knhei mrech skor thnot sondek dei, which explains why it’s just called a Cambodian pork stew.
Whatever you want to call this braised pork recipe, it makes an incredibly delicious dish and it’s not only one of our favourite pork belly recipes, it’s one of our favourite pork recipes.
The wonderful Cambodian palm sugar caramelises the pork belly and combined with the pepper, star anise and ginger gives it sweet floral aromas that waft through our apartment whenever we make it, while the roasted peanuts add crunch.
Cambodian Grilled Eggplant with Minced Pork Recipe for Chha Trob
This Cambodian grilled eggplant with minced pork recipe makes a delicious Cambodian dish that’s called chha trob for short in Khmer. The eggplant is char-grilled so it has a wonderful smoky flavour, while the minced pork, stir-fried with fermented soybeans, is a little funky, a little salty, and a little sweet.
We published this Cambodian grilled eggplant with minced pork recipe as part of a series on the best Cambodian barbecue recipes, which also included recipes for smoky grilled pork ribs and beef skewers, two of our favourite Cambodian street food dishes.
While ribs and skewers are eaten on the streets, at local neighbourhood eateries and at rowdy barbecue joints, washed down with an abundance of Cambodia beer, this smoky grilled eggplant with ground pork dish is more typically found on the menu of a Cambodian restaurant serving traditional food or is eaten as one of an array of dishes as part of a meal at home.
This recipe was one of a handful of Cambodian specialties – along with a green mango salad, pomelo and prawn salad, and fish amok – that we were taught during a private cooking class with chef Kethana Dunnet, soon after we arrived in Siem Reap years ago.
Kethana is the owner of Sugar Palm, one of Siem Reap’s best restaurants for authentic traditional Cambodian food, and is regarded by the younger generation of Cambodian chefs as the ‘godmother of Cambodia cuisine’. The dish would go on to be one of the dishes that we’d order nearly every time we ate at Sugar Palm, along with Kethana’s prahok k’tis, Cambodian chicken curry, and of course, her fish amok.
Classic Banana Flower Salad Recipe for Cambodia’s Gnoam Trayong Chek
This banana flower salad recipe – also called a banana blossom salad recipe – makes the Cambodian banana flower salad called gnoam trayong chek in Khmer. It’s super-easy, just work fast so your banana flower doesn’t brown.
Our Cambodian banana flower salad recipe, or banana blossom salad if you prefer, makes gnoam trayong chek, a fragrant and crunchy salad that is all about the texture and aromas. Most commonly made with shredded poached chicken, you could also do a vegetarian version.
This banana blossom salad also has cousins in Thailand and Vietnam, which vary slightly. This delicious salad was part of a series we published on Cambodia’s wonderful salads that we were recipe testing for our Cambodian cookbook projects.
We also shared recipes for a crunchy green papaya salad that is full of texture, a very moreish Cambodian minced pork larb, a fragrant grilled beef salad, and, what has now become one of our favourite Cambodian salads, this light pork and jicama salad.
Cambodia’s Rich and Spicy Saraman Curry Recipe for Cambodian Cari Saramann
Cambodia’s Saraman curry or cari Saramann is the richest of the Cambodian curries and the most complex. A cousin of the Thai Massaman curry and beef Rendang of Malaysia, its time-consuming nature makes it a special occasion dish for Cambodians, particularly in the Cham Muslim communities of Cambodia.
The similarity between Cambodian Saraman curry and Thailand’s Massaman curry (also written as Mussaman curry) lies in the base curry paste with just a few ingredients setting the Saraman curry apart and that’s the use of star anise, sometimes turmeric, and dry roasted grated coconut.
The latter is what the Saraman curry has in common with Malaysia’s beef Rendang, the dry roasted coconut helping to give the curry that beautiful rich, thick gravy that has you adding yet another spoonful of rice to your bowl just to mix it with the sauce.
Cambodia’s Cham Muslim people consider the Saraman curry to be a Cham dish. The Chams have historically been fishing people, living on the coast, lake and rivers, however, they supplement their seafood diet with goat meat and the curry was traditionally made with goat meat. It’s a knockout dish, as so many Cambodian dishes are.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make any of our What to Cook this Week recipes as we alway love to hear how our recipes turned out for you.